If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, what would you like to do but most importantly what gives you fulfillment while at the same time feeling rejuvenated and recharged? Planning a yearly dream trip can be a huge undertaking for most people. There is a seemly innumerable amount of details along with a long list of things to do and check of your list. As a result, many seek professional planners and consultants.
In a research by the U.S. Travel Association, Oxford Economics and Ipsos, workers in the United States left a record number of vacation days on the table in 2018 equating to billions in lost benefits. A total of 768 million days went unused in 2018, a 9% increase from 2017. Of those, 236 million were completely forfeited, which comes out to $65.5 billion in lost benefits. "When I see how many vacation days went unused, I don't just see a number -- I see 768 million missed opportunities to recharge, experience something new and connect with family and friends," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. However, it's an unfortunate truth that cost is the top barrier to travel. Despite the financial challenges of traveling, there are affordable alternatives to travel and explore the world. There are many reasons why Americans use their time off for travel, and a few of them include, avoiding burnout, seizing an opportunity to travel with friends or family and holidays being the primary drivers. Vacation is essential for strong bonds, a productive workforce and a fulfilled life. Planners have a distinct advantage over non-planners: they use more of their time off and take longer vacations. But nearly half (46%) of American households don’t do this simple step—and lose out on their time off argued U.S Travel Association. While both planners and non-planners are motivated for similar reasons, planners are more likely to be driven to use time off to travel to check an item off their bucket list. However, non-planners indicated work pressure makes it difficult to travel (24% vs. 14%). Planners rated nearly every goal and benefit of traveling as more important than non-planners. Making memories and having fun, excitement and adventure were the most important outcomes of traveling for planners while non-planners rated relaxing or reducing stress as the most important.
1- Map out your Goal, Activities you Wish to Experience and Set Expectations:
All dreams require an action plan and execution. Therefore, there is a huge difference between dreaming about a trip and going on the trip. Most of the work is in the planning process. The first initial step is deciding on the destination, the time of the year you wish to go, the activities you really wish to experience and the cost or how much you are willing to spend. By deciding on the destination, you can set your expectations around what the activities and the best time to go during the year. All this will determine the cost of the trip and how much you are willing to spend and or splurge. Keep in mind that cost only becomes an issue in the absence of value. Hence, with a dream trip that you are treating yourself with or deeply feel you deserve and need, it pays to map out your plan. Experience and fulfillment are usually what we seek when we embark on well planned and thought out trips and every good trip requires meticulous planning. With a map in place, you are also able to plan months ahead of time and that also takes into consideration your work schedule along with family calendar of activities and other events.
2- Work with Experienced Travel Consultant or Planner:
The devil is in the details. An article by Sally Black on Family Vacation states, "it takes 10-20 hours for a person to research their vacation." This time easily doubles if you are especially researching a new and an unfamiliar destination. Even for experienced travelers, planning and booking complicated trips online can prove daunting. Therefore, getting stuck in dead-end queries that zap our time and energy and not even sure if our expectations will be met is not fun either. In fact, according to a 2013 Washington Post travel article, many vacationers ask professionals to sort fact from fiction after much internet research. After all cyberspace is not reality. The surprising part is that only 20% of consumers seek the help of an experienced travel agent or consultant. Besides aggravation and costly travel mistakes, studies show an experienced travel agent can save consumers an average of more than $400 per trip. Travel consultants are now more valuable than ever since they tend to have the knowledge and first-hand experiences. It is also important to take into consideration the unexpected snafus such as flight delays, running late to catch a flight, passport and visa issues especially for foreign travels and the list goes on and on. Some travelers even wished they get more support upon their arrival to their chosen destination. See how this is a huge part of Trailblazer Travelz commitment.
3- Coordinate and Communicate with Everyone who will be Going on the Trip:
For trips that involve, more than one individual, such as family or group of friends, acquaintances, coworkers and colleagues etc., one of the most successful groups we at Trailblazer Travelz have worked with in almost every successful group trip have exceptionally amazing group leaders. The role of group leaders are vast and are not limited to just the initially planning process, rather, our most successful group trips have leaders who before the trip, during the trip and after the trip make sure everyone in the group is up to date with activities, changes, adjustments but most importantly, everyone’s preference, needs etc. are reviewed and taking into consideration. In addition, it is also the constant communication and even going above and beyond by having monthly group orientations and or conference calls so everyone can be familiar with each other and get to know each prior to the trip.
4- Pack and Pack Accordingly:
The best way to pack is to start months ahead of time. Before you begin, we want to remind you that less is more, therefore, reject stuff you don’t need. The less things you pack the more efficient you will be and the opportunity to buy souvenirs that will fit in your luggage or carryon; which is cost effective, less hassle and a win win. A most do when packing ahead of time is packing important documents such as passports, getting visa if need be, vaccinations, travel credit cards that give you points, deciding how many luggage besides a carryon and what other important documents you need. We extensively covered this topic on our blog titled: “Your Ultimate Travel Packing List and Guide, Inspired by Nellie Bly.” While also here, check out our blog post, Which Type of Airport Person are you?
5- Avoid Post Trip Snafus:
Before you leave for your trip, be sure to take care of important things and make note of important dates, deadlines, bills to pay etc. When details such as paying of a bill or noting an important date or event are left out prior to you leaving for your trip, can sometimes leave you feeling upset even after a very fulfilling and well worth trip.